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Argentina forward Yamila Rodriguez has defended herself for having a tattoo of Cristiano Ronaldo inked on her left shin, saying that favouring the Portugal star is not a sign she does not appreciate their World Cup-winning talisman Lionel Messi.

The 25-year-old, who also has a tattoo of Argentina great Diego Maradona on her left thigh, said she had been receiving criticism on social media for the tattoo of Ronaldo, Messi’s great rival.

“Please stop, I’m not having a good time. At what point did I say that I’m anti-Messi?” she wrote on Instagram.

“I’m not having a bad time because of you (fans) but for the atrocities that are said, without mercy. Can’t you have an idol or a player you like? “Messi is our great captain in the national team but the fact that I say that my inspiration and my idol is CR7 (Ronaldo) does not mean that I hate Messi.”

Rodriguez said she saw no problem in having a Ronaldo tattoo as the Portugal forward, who has scored over 800 goals in his career, inspired her. “What is the problem? We are not all obliged to only love the players of our country,” she said.

“Please understand that this is football and everyone has appreciation, their preferences and highlighting one does not mean burying the other.

Enough, it tires me, it hurts me.“ Rodriguez was a late substitute in Argentina’s 1-0 defeat by Italy in their Women’s World Cup group opener.

They next play South Africa on Friday.

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